Lawmakers propose tax credits to spur offshore wind energy; America’s first offshore wind farm off New England coast began operations last December


Washington (May 11, 2017) – Today, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-02) reintroduced legislation that would spur the growth of offshore wind energy in the United States by extending tax credits for this burgeoning renewable industry. The Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development (Offshore WIND) Act would extend the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind through 2025. The 2015 omnibus bill extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for wind until 2019. But because of the longer planning and permitting times currently needed for offshore wind, the Department of Energy has found that no additional offshore wind projects are projected to be able to qualify for these tax credits before they expire. The first offshore wind project, developed by Deepwater Wind near Block Island, Rhode Island, began operations in December 2016 after being initiated nearly nine years ago.


“The WIND Act puts the ‘win’ in wind energy,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Offshore wind projects are a crucial part of America’s energy future. Offshore wind has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs in Massachusetts and up and down the East Coast, encourage local innovation, and reduce carbon pollution. But in order to realize this potential, we need to provide this nascent industry the long-term certainty in the tax code that it needs.”


“I’m proud to say that America’s first offshore wind farm is powering Rhode Island homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy.  Building the wind farm off Block Island has been a boost for our economy, and those turbines are already reducing our region’s carbon footprint,” said Senator Whitehouse, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “This bill will extend an important investment tax credit to expand the benefits of offshore wind we’re enjoying in Rhode Island to coastal communities across the country.”


“Rhode Island has positioned itself as a leader in offshore wind with the Block Island Wind Farm - the first of its kind in the United States. By incentivizing additional such projects, the Offshore WIND Act will encourage other states to follow Rhode Island’s example,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, who serves as Energy Task Force Chair on the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition in the House of Representatives. “Clean energy is our nation’s future and we need a sustained commitment to investments in more efficient and sustainable energy solutions.”


A copy of the Offshore WIND Act can be found HERE.


Other Senators co-sponsoring the legislation are Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). 


In April 2016, Senators Markey and Whitehouse led a group of Democratic Senators in calling on Senate leadership to extend tax programs to help spur the development of offshore wind energy.


Groups supporting the legislation include: League of Conservation Voters, NRDC, Environment America, Sierra Club, Oceana, Union of Concerned Scientists, Mass Audubon, Conservation Law Foundation.